EARNING ITS OWN INCOME TO CARE FOR THE CHILDREN
There were days when the orphans living in Precious Heritage Children’s Home in the rural outskirts of the Philippines did not have vegetables to eat. Rice with a bit of meat was all they had sometimes.
Today, the kids have fresh supply of vegetables from their own garden, go to the school just at their doorstep, read at the library after school and think about what they want to become in the future.
Our work went back to November 2011. Precious Heritage was still a basic orphanage in this rural community caring for orphans mostly abandoned at a young age. Like any other orphanages, they were very reliant on donations. They get donations from visitors from time to time and receive some support from a church. This was certainly not sustainable in the long term to care for these children.
So together with the founder Joel Santos, we looked at various options to keep the home self-sufficient. Our first project was to build a school so it can take in paying students from the neighbourhood. This initiative enables the home to earn their own income through the school fees and pay for the daily expenses to care for the kids and run the place. In addition, it provides a valuable service to community and helps to foster relationships within the community.
Investment example: With an investment of 15 thousand USD we are able to build three fully equipped classrooms for 60 paying students from the community. With parts of the profits the children's home can cover the yearly expenses for up to 30 children.
So the formula is very simple: Two paying students fully fund one child in need.
Our second bigger project was to help the home to build a new house for the children to stay. With more children to care for and more children turning into teenage age, there was a need to have a second house that the older girls now call their home.We then observed that the children were not getting enough vitamins from vegetables.
In our third project, together with the kids we built a vegetable garden from scratch. Because the vegetables are planted through their own efforts, the children are excited about having greens from their own garden.
With the basic needs taken care of, we moved to the fourth project which focused on providing college scholarships for older kids so they could continue their higher education and finally realise their dream jobs.
By enabling the children live on steady income flow from the school fees, they no longer need to worry about the roof over their head and the food. They can now focus on studying, on getting a better education and reach for bigger dreams.
Our work is not yet done. In the Philippines, there are still more than 1 million orphans living below poverty line. We will continue to work closely with the orphanages and children’s homes in Southeast Asia to help them on the road to self-sufficiency.